Whenever my neighbors had mashed potatoes, my daughter used to come home and tell me how good their mashed potatoes were. Now, this is when my daughter was about five or so. Who would think a child that young would have a mashed potato preference. Quite frankly, I was a little bit upset by the fact that mine were not the best. I thought to myself, “How hard is it to make mashed potatoes? What could the neighbor possibly do with mashed potatoes that made them taste so good?” After hearing about the mashed potatoes a few times over the course of a few months, I finally told my neighbor that my daughter raved about her mashed potatoes. I asked my neighbor what she did.
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The Two Secrets
There were only two things she did differently than me.
She only used yellow potatoes.
She added chicken broth in place of half of the milk.
I used to always just buy Russet Potatoes and I still do, but I use them for making French fries and baking.
Now it is the go-to recipe
So, I switched my recipe to hers. My daughter is now 21 and I have never heard another word about how come my mashed potatoes were not as good as the neighbors.
Why Yellow Potatoes?
I did a bit of research to find out why the yellow potatoes worked better. Here is what I found. According to Potato Goodness, there are over 200 varieties of potatoes sold in the United States. However, they all fall within seven groups of potatoes; russet, red, white, yellow, blue or purple, fingerling and petite. After reading up a bit more I found that yellow potatoes are known for their rich and buttery flavor. Here is the reference I found on the potatoes: Potatoes USA (n.d). Potato Types. Retrieve from https://www.potatogoodness.com/potato-types/
Peel potatoes. Dice into approximately 2 inch cubes.
Put potatoes into large pot. Fill with enough water to cover potatoes.
Stir in salt. (when cooking is an appropriate time to add salt as it helps flavor the potatoes even more)
Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes. They will cook faster covered, but watch out for the starchy water from the potatoes bubbling up and boiling over. As they start boiling I turn the heat down a bit and tilt the cover on top. This reduces the chance of boil over and the need to clean up even more mess. However, you can also try putting a wooden spoon across the top of the uncovered pot.
Drain water from potatoes. I usually tilt the lid slightly and drain the water out while keeping the potatoes in. Some people might want to use a colander. Use the method that works easiest for you.
Once drained, add salt and pepper. I would start with ¼ tsp. of each, but you should adjust to your taste. Then add the milk and chicken stock.
Using a masher, mash the potatoes to desired smoothness. Some people like potato chunks yet, I like them pretty creamy.
If you find that the potatoes are a little dry, you can add more liquid – either more milk or stock.
Depending on the occasion, I will change up the mashed potatoes a bit. Here are the variations.